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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945) (x)

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Black Students Crowd into Jim Crow School in Georgia

Two photographs from 1941 show the glaring contrast between so-called "separate but equal" schools in Greene County, Georgia. In this photograph, black students must make do with antiquated, ramshackle facilities and, according to the original [...]

"Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville"

In this rare color photograph taken for the Office of War Information, a "real life" Rosie drills on the side of a dive bomber plane. Nearly three million women worked in defense industries during World War II, including thousands of African [...]

"Detroit, Michigan. Riot at the Sojourner Truth homes, a new U.S. federal housing project"

This photograph, made for the Office of War Information, is part of a larger series documenting racial conflict surrounding the construction of the Sojourner Truth homes in Detroit, Michigan. White neighbors and tenants of the new federal housing [...]

"People waiting for a bus at the Greyhound bus terminal"

Photographers working for the Farm Security Administration Historical Section (later transferred to the Office of War Information) were encouraged to document continuity and change in many aspects of life in America during the years the unit was in [...]

"Washington, D.C. Government charwoman who provides for a family of six on her salary of one thousand and eighty dollars per year"

While working as an apprentice with the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photography project, renowned photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) documented the African-American experience in Washington D.C. In 1942, he completed an eighty-five image [...]

"Mrs. Ella Watson"

While working as an apprentice with the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photography project, renowned photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) documented the African-American experience in Washington D.C. In 1942, he completed an eighty-five image [...]

"Mrs. Ella Watson, Government Charwoman"

While working as an apprentice with the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photography project, renowned photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) documented the African-American experience in Washington D.C. In 1942, he completed an eighty-five image [...]

Oklahoma Tenant Farmers Hold a Union Meeting

The state of Oklahoma suffered greatly during the Depression, causing many families to become migrant workers. In response to the dire conditions in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Tenant Farmers' Union argued for decent living wages for field workers, an [...]

Black Workers Call for a March on Washington

In May 1941, as it became clear that the U.S. would probably be entering World War II, black labor leader A. Philip Randolph and other activists founded the March on Washington Movement (MOWM). They called for a mass march on the nation's capital to [...]

A Black Candidate Runs on Civil Rights in 1940s New York

The Japanese distributed leaflets over the South Pacific that asked, "If Americans are fighting for the freedom and equality of all people, why aren't Negro Americans allowed to play big league baseball?" Ben Davis, an African-American candidate for [...]

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